Wichita, Kansas, Higher Education and City Facts

Wichita is the largest city in the state of Kansas and one of the 50 largest cities in the U.S. It has numerous institutions of higher learning that offer graduate and undergraduate programs and degrees. Keep reading to learn about Wichita's schools, economy and attractions.

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About Wichita, Kansas

Wichita has a population of 388,413 residents, based on 2014 U.S. census estimates, putting it on par with cities such as Cleveland, Minneapolis and Oakland. The city is located in the south-central part of the state, near the convergence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas Rivers, and is the hub for a larger metropolitan area of approximately 620,000 residents. Wichita is known for being a center for aircraft manufacturing and aeronautic culture.

Attractions in the Wichita metropolitan area include the Old Cowtown Museum, an open air living history museum that depicts life in 19th-century Kansas, and the Mid-America All Indian Center Museum, an educational center devoted to Native American heritage. A number of other museums are located in the area, including the Ulrich Museum of Art, the Wichita Art Museum and the Museum of World Treasures. Each May, in a long-running local tradition, the city puts on the Wichita River Festival, a fair that features music, theater, food, crafts, a parade and fireworks.

Higher Education

Students in Wichita can find a total of 16 schools, including both nonprofit and for-profit institutions. Wichita State University, a public research university, is one of the largest in the city and enrolls almost 15,000 students. Some of the university's graduate programs are ranked in the top 100 nationwide by U.S. News & World Report's recent rankings. These include speech-language pathology (46th in 2016) and physician assistant (40th in 2015).

Friends University and Newman University are both private, non-profit schools that offer associate's through master's degree programs. Friends University has about 1,900 students, while Newman University enrolls around 3,700 students. The only 2-year public school in the city limits, Wichita Area Technical College has certificate and associate's degree programs in aviation, mechanic and repair technologies, design, business, healthcare and general studies.


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of March 2016, reported that Wichita's highest sector of employment was trade, transportation, and utilities with 52,400 jobs. Manufacturing had about 52,000 jobs, while education and health services held about 45,000 jobs. The nearby McConnell Air Force Base is also a major employer for the area. Wichita's location in the center of a vast agricultural region means that agricultural shipping and transportation are also major contributors to the city's economy.

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